Sunday, 11 January 2009

Comedy Hour

I've been slow to alert folk to a fun event on Manx Radio last Thursday.
My good mate Andrew Dixon, Vice-Chair of Isle of Man Freethinkers, was called into the studio for a debate nominally over the atheist bus adverts. In the faith corner to tell us all why it was a sin and we will go to hell in a handbasket was Peter Murcott.
You can hear the results at
For the benefit of off-island readers (and possibly on-island readers too) I should explain that Murcott is the local equivalent of Christian Voice's Stephen Green. He's a veteran of local campaigns going back to Keep Sunday Special and was even, I believe, the leader of a Manx chapter of Mary Whitehouse's old Festival of Light gang.
As you'll hear, he likes to present himself as a legal authority, though he's never practiced law. He did recently retire from teaching O & A level law at the local 'tech. Also to his credit, while his biblical arguments against Sunday trading fell on deaf political ears, his arguments on behalf of shop and other workers got them a fair deal when the Manx law was amended.
That said, it's hard to take anyone seriously when he mixes quotations from Genesis with legal judgements and has the most prolific whiskers since Biggles Flies Undone.
Debating Murcott is almost a rite of passage for Freethinkers, and by accident he always sounds off about subjects he knows nothing of when his opponent is, coincidentally, there because they take an informed interest.
Previously, for example, on assisted suicide he drew Jeff Garland, who, being a modest bloke who rarely uses his doctor title, Murcott didn't know was a retired clinical psychologist with not just extensive experience counselling the terminally ill but a couple of books out on the topic. So when Murcott fumed that the ill and elderly would feel terrorised into taking the tablets Jeff amicably flattened him.
This time was as funny. Poor old Peter was not to know that, long before a current stable of businesses, Andrew was a post-grad student on a project led by Richard Dawkins. Thus not the best person to tell 'authoritively' that evolution is poor science.
Listen, laugh and learn!

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